Friday, August 7, 2009

Big Brother is Watching

Excerpt from a John Cornyn letter to the President:

"Yesterday, in an official White House release entitled "Facts are Stubborn Things," the White House Director of New Media, Macon Phillips, asserted that there was "a lot of disinformation out there," and encouraged citizens to report "fishy" speech opposing your health care policies to the White House. Phillips specifically targeted private, unpublished, even casual speech, writing that "rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation." Phillips wrote "If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to"
I am not aware of any precedent for a President asking American citizens to report their fellow citizens to the White House for pure political speech that is deemed "fishy" or otherwise inimical to the White House's political interests.
By requesting that citizens send "fishy" emails to the White House, it is inevitable that the names, email addresses, IP addresses, and private speech of U.S. citizens will be reported to the White House. You should not be surprised that these actions taken by your White House staff raise the specter of a data collection program. As Congress debates health care reform and other critical policy matters, citizen engagement must not be chilled by fear of government monitoring the exercise of free speech rights...."

What the hell??? Is this for real? The white house is asking people to become "informants" on other Americans if they express disagreement with the current proposed health care policies? You're right Brett, this is nothing like Socialism. We've skipped right past socialism and thrown ourselves into the bottomless pit of communism.

While we're at it, why stop at people who disagree with health care reform? I can think of a lot of reasons to report people (yes, including friends and family - sorry, it's for the good of the country and it's Obama-law) :

- bad drivers because they cause wrecks
- people with bad breath because its gross
- architects who wear bow ties because they look stupid
- anyone who says anything negative about Democrats, liberals, or Obama - because they must be radical conservative extremists and should be silenced
- people who save money because they hurt our economy
- people who are anti-debt because they hurt our economy and because not having debt is just plain stupid
- legal citizens because they make illegal aliens feel bad about themselves
- white people because they are the root of all evil
- Republicans because they are not Democrats
- Conservatives because they are not liberal
- anyone who buys something not organic or all-natural because they hate the planet
- anyone who drives a car because they are personally and single-handedly causing global warming and killing Mother Nature and her entire family
- anyone who ever makes the slightest implication that our country should try to balance the budget and stop spending so much damn money
- people who don't smoke because they make the fifteen 15 minute smoke break a day smokers look unproductive
- Brett because he keeps putting so much pressure on me to write additional blogs when he knows I'm still on vacation

Sometimes I feel like I'm making really good points about things and then I get completely side tracked, take my points to the extreme, and lose the entire audience reading it. So in summary, here is my problem:

- liberals protest anything and everything including the war, ban on stem cell research, ban on abortion, ban on gay marriage - and all of that is ok - it's just Americans expressing their opinions, man

- conservatives protest health care reform and they are characterized as angry extremist rich heartless SOB's that should be shot on sight...or at a minimum reported to the federal government so that surveillance trucks can be deployed...wait a second, what's the strange van doing parked outside my office? "Hey, who are you peop...................



    Here is the source of all the controversy. Let me warn you, it is very underwhelming. It looks to me like they are just trying to fight a campaign of misinformation. If they believe that their health care system is better for this country should they not be trying in every way possible to get the public behind their cause?

    If anyone out there is naive enough to believe that the government does not already filter as much information as possible and keep certain "lists", I don't know why they would think this is what is going on here. I really don't think that their purpose here is to start a list of who is against health care reform. What exactly is that going to accomplish? Are they going to start arresting people who disagree with them?

  2. Brett - are you kidding me? "It looks to me like they are just trying to fight a campaign of misinformation" You can't be serious?

    Who determines who is spreading the wrong information versus telling the "facts"? If you watch one of the White House sponsored videos, there is a lady on it giving an example of people spreading misinformation and uses the example that people keep saying that Obama's new health care plan is going to force private insurers out of business. She says that's not true and then plays clips of him saying the same thing. But how the hell do they know that? And if it's my opinion that that will be the outcome of this new health care plan, whether Obama intends for it to happen or not, then I'm just guilt of spreading misinformation? So basically, you are deemed as spreading misinformation if you say something in disagreement to what they are saying - that's not the role I want my government to have, do you? How is that not fear mongering? How is that not discouraging people to express their first amendment right? Telling people to report others for "spreading misinformation" is quite possible the scariest and most extreme thing I've seen this administration do to date. But I don't know what scares me more, that they are doing it or that intelligent people like you don't see the problem with it. You're going to be one of those people in 20 years, wearing your grey wellness uniform, in line with millions of other people, waiting for soup, shaking your head in agreement that ignorance really is bliss, and this New America really is better because everyone is truly equal.

  3. let me ask you another always seem to peg me as a conspiracy theory nut who reads too much into what you consider to be much more innocent things, but has it ever occured to you that in countries that end up as socialists, communists, marxists, etc... they don't all have a vote one day and just decide to go that direction. I would assume, much like it is happening in our country, it's an underlying discreet current and that the country changes over time while all the sheep just continue to march to the drum. I don't think it's an evil plot, but I do think that it's an agenda by the "progressives" who think they are doing good when what they are really doing is cutting our country's legs off.

  4. I can't believe I'm having to explain this to you...seriously, what the heck is going on when I have to explain this to the guy that I quit Bellguards with?

  5. Alright - so for the record, you see absolutely no problem with the White House asking citizens to report anyone engaging in misinformation or "fishy talk" about health care, including information passed through emails, phone conversations, chats, letters, books, blogs, websites, etc... ?

  6. Welcome back Jake but simma down, young man! You need to eaze back into this or you will have a hear attack and then what are you going to do? Oh that's right, the government will take care of you.

    Seriously, does anyone really think the government can or should run our health care system? I don't have the answers but I know the government is not the solution.

    And why don't the Democrats talk about the really messy complicated issues? It makes me crazy to hear Obama say...if you like your current plan you can keep it. What makes him think your current plan will still be around?

    They don't want the insurance companies to deny coverage to anyone (no restrictions). Do they really understand what this means? You can't wait until your house burns down to get home owner's insurance. You can't wait until you have a wreck to buy car insurance. How does that concept get so lost with health insurance? How will private companies survive if they are required to provide coverage to people that don't want the coverage until they need it?

    The fact is that some people can afford health insurance but choose not to buy it. I realize this is not true for all of the uninsured but it certainly applies to some. Why should I pay for these people to have insurance? My suggestion? If the government wants everyone to get health insurance then determine an individual's abililty to pay when they file their income tax. Require everyone at a certain income level and above to submit proof of health insurance. If proof is not submitted, BAM! You get enrolled in the goverment's health plan and you get to pay a higher income tax rate to fund the government's plan. I'll continue to pay my share to support the Medicaid and Children's Programs.

    There problem solved. Let's move onto the next topic.

  7. yes I it like car insurance (this is my own completely original idea and I have never ever discussed this with Heidi) - make it a law that everyone has to have a minimum level of coverage and everyone has to go get it on their own - there are no group plans. Just let all of the different insurance companies compete for an individual's business. And if you can't afford to buy the minimum level then you just won't be able to drive. Wait, I confused myself.

    And don't tell me to simma down, you're not the boss of me. Obamam and Brett are.

  8. OK....I want to make a few points.

    A. I have no allegiance to Obama's health care plan. To tell you the truth I don't know much about it. I do know that we already spend more taxes on health care per person than the vast majority if not every country in the world, so I find it kind of funny when people talk about how they don't want to pay for someone else's health care.

    B. Jake, you are pretty good at tilting things just enough to make it sound crazy that anybody thinks something other that what you think.

    For example, you said in your reply that the lady on the video tries to debunk the idea that Obama's plan will force private insurers out of business. I agree with you, that is an opinion and not misinformation. There is only one problem...that's not what the video is about at all.

    In the video, her example is a link on a website that reads "uncovered video: Obama explains how is health care plan will eliminate private insurance..."

    That is not an opinion. That is either true or it's not. Your whole point in that paragraph was derived from a slanted perspective of what they are doing. No where on that blog, on her video, or in their campaign, do they say or do anything to dissuade people from giving their opinions. they also never tell anyone to "report" on anyone else, but to just send the links of the "fishy" information.

    C. I'm not saying that I know I am right, but I seriously don't think that this is a situation where they are trying to get people to tattle on other people. I don't think Obama's front office is a CIA front. I honestly believe they are trying to gather inaccurate information about their health care plan so they can have a response.

    D. If their goal was to install fear in the heart of every American to not speak out against the President in fear that he will crush you, they probably could have found a better forum than a white house blog. The only reason more than a handful of people know about this is when a few conservatives like the great Rush Limbaugh started freaking out.

    E. It's funny how different things can look depending on your perspective. I have thought for about five or six years that this country is screwed and going down. Corporate greed and corrupt politicians make me want to hurl. I never thought anything was going to make me change my mind, and while nothing has, I do see a glimmer of hope with Obama. While I don't agree with all of his policies, I do see him as a voice for change. The guy you see as potentially turning our society into mindless communists I see as perhaps our last chance to change this countries direction. Who is to say we are not both right? I'll see you in the soup line.

  9. I can't believe you basically called me a sheep. I may be a lot of things, but anyone who claims that the government may be responsible for 9/11 should get a sheep exemption.

    Have you really convinced yourself that Obama has a socialist agenda so much that now those who don't believe that are sheep? He's a democrat Jake. Maybe you forgot what that is, but they believe in taking care of poor people and taxing the rich and blah blah blah. This is nothing new. And if we are on the verge of a socialist movement, it is not because of Obama. It is because the balance of power has become so top-heavy in this country that we are now seeing the affects in the voting booth. If enough people in a democracy don't think they are getting a fair shake, change is inevitable.

    Perhaps if companies like Wal-Mart treated their employees like human beings as opposed to labor costs, we would not be in this predicament right now.

  10. Jake, I have involuntarily included you in a social experiment. I sent the link to your blog to the white house to see what they think about your radical anti-Obama rhetoric. Let me know if they contact you about your involvement in the campaign of misinformation.

  11. This is a little steep blog for a Monday after drinking myself silly in I just went ahead and forwarded the blog to the "Mother Land" for review. I will see everyone at the book burning in our town square...don't forget the gram crakers.

  12. I prefer my crackers to be at least 2 or 3 grams.

  13. multi-gram crackers if you will. My favorite are multi-gram, multi-grain, graham crackers.

  14. I got to thinking about the way we argue with each other on this blog and when people disagree with you Jake, a mundane argument on either side can instantaneusly turn passionate... Then I came across this article:,8599,1909019,00.html

    ...nothing to do with health care, just interesting.

  15. I don't know what to tell you Matt - I don't like to sit on the sidelines.

  16. Good article Matt (for a fag) and very on point with this topic. Most people who read this blog probably think that I am an Obama lover, when in reality I only like him because he is not a third generation senator who graduated from Yale and was a member of the same secret society as the guy he is running against. Translation: he actually has a slight idea of what it's like to have to live life in this country. And yes, he seems like a pretty smart cat too.

    And yet I continuously end up siding with this guy who I don't really even feel that strongly about only because of Jake's really good Sean Hannity impersonations.

  17. Brett -

    A. Well you should read up, it affects you.
    B. Thank you
    C. Then there is nothing else I can say. The website and speeches speak for themselves. They are asking citizens to send in any messages they deem as "fishy." But who makes that call? And why do they need to know who is saying it? The line bewteen my opinion and "spreading misinformation" is very thin and I don't see how it's the White House's job to start policing our lines of communication.
    D. What the hell does Rush Limbaugh have to do with this? I originally quoted a letter from John Cornyn, you know, one of our 2 US Texas Senators. And do you really think that a government trying to increase its power and role in our lives would really come as an obvious overt attempt at a power grab or is it possible that they would play it smart and make subtle moves over time to slowly eat away at our civil liberties?
    E. I agree with you that we are changing directions. But I don't think a 180 degree turn was needed. I think we just needed to adjust our course. My problem is not with what people like Obama say, but how they go about accomplishing it.
    E-1. I hope it's bean with bacon.

  18. Brett - I agree with the first comment. And I take offense to the second. I can't stand Sean Vannity.

  19. Cassy, what happened to your guest post about health care? Sir, you cannot make promises you have no intention of keeping. I hate to do this, but I find your behavior "fishy" and will be reporting you to the White House.

  20. Jake -

    A. You are right. It will affect me. I will be able to get health insurance without spending an arm and a leg. I have been working since I was 16 years old and have never had an employer offer me health insurance.

    B. I wouldn't be proud of the fact that you can't get from one website to another without being able to accurately state the truth. Seriously, do you not even realize that you completely slanted what that lady in the video said to prove your point? To be honest it wasn't even a slant, it was just straight up not true.

    C. Give me one shred of evidence that they are going to do anything with the links other than use the information provided and I might think you have something. This isn't the CIA or the FBI Jake. It's Obama's freakin white house staff. It's a bunch of dorks trying to get a bill passed. Now if you are asking me if it was poor judgment? Sure it was. But anyone who wasn't already convinced that Obama is going to cause the end of the free world as we know it would probably not think much of this at all.

    D. Rush was one of the first to bring this story to the forefront. I know who you quoted from the letter and I take no issue with it, probably because he stated facts and didn't use extreme exaggerations to prove his point. My point was to counter your point that this is blatant fear mongering. Typically, if you are trying to scare someone, you would actually want them to hear your threat. Now if want to discuss fear mongering, let's talk about our former president. Oh, the high terror alert alarm just went off in my building so we will have to discuss when I get back from my bunker.

    E. How does Obama go about accomplishing things? Seriously, what are you talking about?
    I love the way Obama has gone about accomplishing things. I love the fact that I can go online and see all of his different plans for energy and the economy. I like how accessible his staff is with us commoners. I feel like we finally have a president that doesn't think like our grandparents do.

  21. Yeah Jake, that Sean Hannity remark may have been a little harsh. He is just the first person I think of when inaccurate, unfounded, Obama bashing starts up.

  22. calmer than you are...

    I apologize for having an opinion and not just jumping on the I Heart Obama bandwagon. I'm a conservative guy who likes small government - big surprise, I don't like a lot of Obama's ideas and plans for our country. But I guess from your viewpoint, a disagreement is considered as inaccurate and unfounded. Hey, maybe you should go work for the White House Misinformation campaign - they don't like people that disagree either. In fact at this very moment they are collecting names and personal information for a national database so that when the day comes where we can openly call each other Comrade, they can systematically take all of us crazy people to the gulag.

  23. Once again you have got it all wrong Jake. I don't view disagreements as inaccurate and unfounded. What I consider innacurate and unfounded are things that are innacurate and unfounded, such as most of the points you have made in this argument.

    I understand you won't be jumping on the I Heart Obama bandwagon (you should...there's a great view from up here) anytime soon, but I would like to think that that there is some middle ground here. You act like that bandwagon is riding on a 4 foot wide trail and on both sides is the communist canyon.

    Our government has been dominated by conservatives for the last 25 years or so. The tides have now turned and the democrats have the majority as well as the presidency. Since liberals viewpoints are closer to the ideals of socialism, the trend to become more socialist is inevitable. It isn't the first time our country has gone in this direction and I don't think it will be the last. I just don't think that means there is some kind of secret plan to destroy capitalism.

  24. Well I give you one point, you're right, it's not a "secret plan" - it's out in the open and in our face.

    In all seriousness, I'm not joking around. I intentionally write extreme blogs for effect and because it's more fun than having a boring conversation about healthcare. But I don't find anything funny about what is really going on. I don't see socialized medicine, increasing the government's role/scope/power, increasing taxes on the upper class, and limiting executive pay in privately held companies as anything but an attack on capitalism. I honestly don't see how anyone can disagree - all of those things I just named are in direct contradiction with capitalistic and free market theories. I think I would be more ok with people just saying they want our country to be socialistic rather than making all of these changes and then pretending like it's not undermining our current economic and social structure. But if they did that, people would never buy into it. I still wouldn't agree with it, but at least I wouldn't feel so deceived and pissed off.

    I guess I just don't understand your point of view.

  25. Well I will clearly explain my point of view when I get off of work tonight.

  26. I can't wait. Perhaps you should write it as a big picture statement about how you see the world and I can post it as a guest blog.

  27. not according to the times when each of our comment's were posted - I beat you by 3 minutes

  28. Sorry...I am slightly behind you (just where I like to be)!!

  29. I'm glad that my extremist comments and your hippie ways have not hindered our friendship.

  30. I'm glad that you bald head and my affinity for Jewish women has not hindered our love life.

  31. Jake,

    Why haven't you posted my guest post?

  32. Brett - why haven't you emailed me your guest post?

  33. You post it and then I'll email it!